Try to minimize time-sapping callbacks


Dr. McCormick is on the computer filling a prescription for a late client and is hoping to go home to a nice dinner with her husband.

Dr. McCormick is on the computer filling a prescription for a late client and is hoping to go home to a nice dinner with her husband.

As usual, Dan is home from his job a little earlier and tonight has agreedto make dinner. Dr. Mac, as she is affectionately known, smiles at the expectationof a leisurely repast at home.

Although many computer terminals are up and running, most of the staffwanted to use Dr. Mac's current computer terminal for various reasons-thismakes for a cozy, albeit inefficient, situation at this terminal.

Josie, the receptionist, angles her way through the crowd of staff membersto bend Dr. Mac's ear one more time. This time it is about "Calli"Morgan. It seems that Josie has spent most of the afternoon relaying informationto Dr. Mac from more than the usual number of people who have called backto inform the hospital of an assortment of questions.

Dr. Mac had sent a number of patients home in the morning while dividingher time between surgery and medical patients.

Afternoon shapes up

This is how the afternoon had gone for Josie and Dr. Mac:

"Missy" Jones had gone home at 10 a.m. having been spayed inthe hospital yesterday. There were no problems and Dr. Mac had waved andtold Mrs. Jones through the door that "Missy" had done well andwould need to come back in 10 days. Josie received a call at 1 p.m. fromMrs. Jones. She had a list of questions she had concerning the surgery andhad some specific questions about pain control. Josie had asked how "Missy"was doing and Mrs. Jones said that she was doing just fine. Mrs. Jones insisted,however, on talking to Dr. Mac. Dr. Mac interrupted a current client andcame to the phone and spent about 10 minutes on the phone with Mrs. Jones.

"Samantha" Hughes, a 6-month-old Doberman had been picked upon Sunday afternoon a day early from boarding. Jennifer, who was doing kennelsSunday afternoon, had let Mrs. Hughes pick up Samantha early because sheappeared at the door and insisted in taking her pet home a day early. Jenniferhad looked on the chart and had seen that Mrs. Hughes had already paid thebill ahead of time. Therefore, she let "Samantha" go. Her owner,Jane Hughes, has called back to ask about "Sam's" shots. She wassupposed to have had all her shots before she left, and she didn't get herrabies tag. Helen, one of the techs who now was in second place for thecomputer, said she was planning on giving the shots Monday morning and didnot know but thought that someone else must have given the vaccinationsbecause "Samantha" was gone when she got here today.

"Boomer" Smith, a rambunctious Old-English Sheepdog went homefrom a heartworm treatment while Dr. Mac was in surgery doing a lump removal.At 2 p.m., Mr. Smith calls to inform Josie that "Boomer" is fullof fleas and wants a free flea bath. Josie becomes frantic and asks Dr.Mac what to do. Naturally, she looks at the chart and finds no record ofan examination upon entry to the hospital. She begrudgingly tells Josieto schedule a bath for "Boomer" tomorrow. Unfortunately tomorrowis Saturday and it will take a while for Boomer to dry-someone will needto come in Saturday afternoon to release and dry the flea depopulated "Boomer."

It will also take quite a performance to convince Mr. Smith tomorrowmorning that "Boomer" likely will return to a house full of fleaeggs and larvae. After all, to Mr. Smith, "Boomer" got the fleas"at the vet."

Just keeps coming

"Denver" Poole, a very thin Whippet, was diagnosed last weekwith congestive heart failure and was to have been seen again this afternoon.Dr. Mac remembers spending an hour explaining the condition to Mr. Poole.

According to Josie, it seems that Mr. Poole understands "Denver's"condition quite well. He just wants to know how long to use the medications.He also tells Josie that he will be out of town for two weeks and wondersif "Denver" can go that long with medication. He also called tocancel his appointment as "Denver" is doing "quite well,thank you," and is not even coughing anymore.

Dr. Jeffers saw "Callie" Morgan, an elderly cat with chronickidney disease, last night on an emergency. Dr. Jeffers is off today andDr. Mac had dutifully and carefully treated "Callie" this morningand attended to the technical details of this very ill and debilitated patient.

When Dr. Mac found a few opportune moments to call Mr. Morgan to givean update of "Callie's" condition, the phone number was out ofservice. Now late this afternoon Mr. Morgan has called when things werecrazy and related that he does not understand what is wrong with his petand needed to come in and see his cat and talk to the doctor. This was 5p.m. and he said it would be an hour before he could get to the hospital.Mrs. Hughes with "Samantha" (for her tardy shots) and Mr. andMrs. Morgan with "Callie" show up together at the door close to6 p.m. just as Dan calls and says that supper is ready. Dr. Mac throws backher hair and buries her head in her hands.

What really happened

Dr. Mac and Josie had unknowingly spent a large portion of the afternoondealing with callbacks.

Callbacks are inevitable. Our objective is not to eliminate them, butto reduce callbacks to a minimum.

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